1st June 2013
Chairman's Corner

Our AGM was held on April 19th. Our guest speaker was Jenny Rickard, Head of Regulatory Services at Surrey Heath Borough Council, Jenny presented a talk entitled:

Working in the present Looking to the future

A podcast of Jenny’s talk can be found on the Surrey Heath Residents Network.

Jenny was prepared to answer the questions raised by members of the audience and for those she was unable to answer, she gave an undertaking to follow up on.

After Jenny’s talk, there was a short break for refreshments. The meeting then resumed with the chairman’s update on the Society's activities since the last public meeting, this was followed by the treasures report, election of committee members with the election of a new committee member (Sarah Kingsley), an update from Jon Castell, The Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Sergeant and question time with our local Borough Councillors.

The customary raffle was then held and the meeting brought to a close. For a more complete account of the meeting, see the Minutes.

What’s been happening locally?

Well, Surrey Heath Borough Council released a Site Allocations Issues and Options Paper for public consultation the consultation ran from 28th March 2013 until 26th May 2013. It is to be hoped that you all took the opportunity to respond and make your views known. This was an important consultation; it will be used to inform the council as to how they should proceed to make Surrey Heath a place that will reflect the views of residents of the Borough.

Then, on the 2nd of May we had the County Council Elections, the results on a poor turnout 30% overall not surprisingly showed the Conservative retaining control winning 58 of the 81 seats that were contested.

Our own ward of Frimley Green/Mytchett weighed in with a paltry 25% turnout, the Conservative candidate Councillor Chris Pitt with 36% of the votes cast won the seat by 95 votes. His closest contender was the UKIP candidate. On a purely personal level, I find the poor turnout and closeness of the result a matter of concern.

Blockbusters Video Store in Frimley Green:

Despite assurances from Deloitte the administrators in charge of the Blockbusters wind-up that they were unaware of Morrison’s interest and indeed when Morrison’s themselves were asked if they had the Frimley Green Store on their list of acquisitions, their answer was no. Since then two planning applications have been received by SHBC, both apparently on behalf of Morrison’s. No information has been provided regarding the impact on traffic that a Morrison’s “M” local store might have on the local roads, no indication of delivery times or number of deliveries, no indication of the size of delivery trucks, they do however state that there will be no change to the existing parking provisions.

Tesco have recently had had a similar application for a Tesco “Express” Store in Mytchett rejected, for amongst others things similar traffic issues.

At a more National level:

Recently and considering the controversy surrounding the proposed changes to the NHS, the Secretary of State for health the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt felt compelled to respond on Twitter as follows:

This response was because of a backlash against a document presented to Conservative activists by a group called the Conservative Policy Forum; this group is in close contact with government ministers and passes the views of the activists to those ministers. The document that asked for views on “Local Health” posed by their own admission some controversial questions including the following:

There should be no annual limit to the number of appointments patients can book to see their GP

The respondents were asked if they Strongly Agreed, Agreed, Disagreed, Strongly Disagreed or Did not know.

This question raised concern amongst non-activists who asked, was an indication that there was a possibility of a cap being placed on the number of visits by a patient to their GP being considered by the government?

The SoS for health considered it necessary to reassure the public with his twitter statement, it would carry a lot more weight if this reassurance was given in the House of Commons rather than via twitter. All the questions being raised can be found on the full briefing document.

On a final note, recently I came across a YouTube video which despite the probably somewhat biased views it expresses I found highly amusing, so for your delectation I provide the video.

Until the next time,

Kevin Daley    (Chair, MFGD Society)